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Image of Earthquake damage inside a building

Italian town focus of earthquake recovery research

Effective ways to reconstruct and protect communities, buildings and cultural heritage in earthquake-prone areas are being explored by international academics, the Italian authorities and people from the town of Amandola in Italy.

Academics from Jesus College in the University of Cambridge and Università Politecnica delle Marche are working in Amandola. Their aim is to develop research and education programmes aimed at ensuring the sustainable rebuilding of communities, reducing future architectural damage and encouraging the recording of cultural heritage.

Located in the Marche region of Italy, Amandola suffered a series of earthquakes in 2016 including one of 6.2 magnitude. Of unusual length, the quakes affected an extensive area. There was significant damage to properties, infrastructure and irreplaceable cultural heritage such as churches and frescoes.

Architect Nicholas Ray, Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College and Reader Emeritus at the Department Of Architecture at the University Of Cambridge, said: “Amandola represents a unique and time-specific opportunity to work with a community in the key post-catastrophe phase of reconstruction. Although a small town, it could carry a much larger significance as a case study.

“Sensitivity to historical fabric and patterns of community is a pressing issue, after the experience of the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009 in the neighbouring Abruzzo region, and in Emilia in 2012. There is considerable interest in Italy, and internationally, in studying how effective strategies can be devised, in an alliance between academic research and practical execution.”

Supporting this work, international experts in engineering, earth sciences, sociology, architecture, history and the history of art gathered at a conference at Jesus College in Cambridge on 24 and 25 October 2017 to debate and examine the issues facing Amandola. 

The opening session included Mauro Dolce, Director General Italian Department of Civil Protection and Professor of Structural Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, with closing remarks from Adolfo Marinangeli, Mayor of Amandola.

The conference was kindly supported by the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College, the Comune of Amandola, the Cambridge Italian Research Network, and the British-Italian Society.


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